As Advent is a season of awaiting the birth of Christ, Mary, as His chosen Mother, is intimately bound up in this season, as she carried Him in her womb. To enter more deeply in this season, The Church encourages us to reflect in various ways on the mystery of God’s work in and through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1) First of all, this is a season where we are particularly encouraged to focus on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (especially the first two Joyful Mysteries of Annunciation and the Visitation).
2) Advent Marian Prayer – While many Marian prayers, the “Alma Redemptoris Mater” prayer has been traditionally prayed in Advent:
“Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.”
3) The Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8 – On December 8, we celebrated the Immaculate Conception, which is about Mary being conceived in the womb free from Original Sin, as she was to be the consecrated vessel to carry Christ in her womb, and to be the new mother of all humanity, the “New Eve.” While this teaching has existed and been believed from the very early centuries of Christianity, it was formally affirmed in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. This was then affirmed by Mary herself when she appeared in 1858 to St. Bernadette in Lourdes and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” And speaking of Marian Apparitions…
4) Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12 – Mary has continued to remain an intimate part of Christ’s saving work and an instrument of proclaiming his Gospel throughout history. One example is Mary’s miraculous apparition at Guadalupe, in Mexico, which led to thousands of conversions to Christ! And this major and beautiful celebration is especially significant for our Mexican brothers and sisters. And it’s beautiful that this celebration usually falls on or near “Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday,” as we light the “rose-colored” candle and we celebrate Guadalupe with roses.
We already celebrated the Immaculate Conception. This week we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe which, while primarily in Spanish, we will have resources for English-speakers to come and join us for the celebration.
Celebrations for this will all be at St. Patrick’s in Hampton on Monday Dec. 12 and will include:
- 5 a.m. Mañanitas (Songs in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Coffee and treats following
- 5:30 p.m. Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe
- 6:30 p.m. Play telling story of Guadalupe
Meal and more celebration to follow!
If you would like to learn more about the importance and significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, (not just for Mexicans, but for us as well) I will be giving a talk (in English) at the Rustic Brew in Hampton on Tues. Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
Hope you are able to join us for these events!
– Fr. Kevin